Stuttering Therapy Goals that Promote Functional Confident Communicators

Blog Post Adapted from Poster Session Presentation at ASHA Connect July 2020 entitled Helping your students who stutter be Functional Confident Communicators:  Setting therapy goals that promote success

It can be difficult for SLPs (Speech Language Pathologists) to write therapy goals for their students/clients that stutter. And it can be difficult for people who stutter and/or their families to know what type of goals they might work on in therapy will help them communicate functionally and confidently. Why is this so hard?

There is also a history behind how stuttering goals have been written.

This history has resulted in therapy goals that are focused on stuttering (or the lack thereof), rather than on the person who is stuttering. They have caused stress to the person who stutters and their family, they have caused shame to the person who stutters and their family, they have not focused on helping the person who stutters actually communicate more effectively, and in many cases, they have not only not helped the person who stutters, but resulted in causing them harm. So what could we be doing that is better? Let’s see how we can start the process of writing better goals. First, let’s look at some key issues we need to consider.

In order to move beyond these initial thoughts, let’s take a look at person centered treatment, and what it means. Person centered treatment has a focus on placing the individual and their families interests, motivators, wants and needs at the center of the process. Here are some guiding questions we can ask about a student/client’s stuttering from a person centered perspective.

And here are some goal areas we can look at for students/clients who stutter:

The assessment process will guide how we match the needs of the person who stutters with goals to work on in therapy. These will be individualized to the person. That being said, it can be helpful to have an idea of some types of goals that I have found effective in working with students/clients that stutter as a springboard to get you started. These examples were written while working with Elementary School aged students, and as such may not be appropriate for older students/clients or in a private therapy setting. But hopefully, they can help get you started with knowing where to go. Here are some examples:

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